When some of the social media gurus of the world started proclaiming that "social business was dead" a while back, my immediate thought was "this is where it gets interesting".
Well, when the shiny suited bandwagon jumpers move on it's pretty much a sign that the peak of inflated expectations is over, and that we're passing through the trough of disillusionment towards a plateau of productivity. And yes, gentle reader, I am alluding to the Gartner Hype Cycle here:
Once the flash and dash of the early hype is over, the serious work gets done. We're seeing some interesting new businesses emerging in the space, like my friends Agile Elephant and now a post Headshift/Dachis Lee Bryant and Livio Hughes with Post*Shift.
They held their launch part last night, and while I can't claim to completely understand what the company is right now - some hybrid of an incubator, an investor and a strategic consultant as far as I could tell - I'm certainly interested to see what they do over the next couple of years.
A few interesting notes from the introduction talks
- Existing companies are prone to "innovation tourism" - where they go visit innovators and startups, and then go back to doing exactly what they did before.
- Existing companies tend to become entities whose purpose is protecting their business model. They're disruption-adverse.
- Startups may be more professional than many businesses, as they run lean and with zero waste - they just can't afford it.
- There are many company structures which have existed conceptually for decades - but which social technology is finally making practical
- The management consultancy model hasn't significantly changed in a century. It needs rethinking.
Right at the end of the talks, Lee touched on a small obsession of mine, when he started talking about how the disruption that the internet can bring could interface with more physical businesses - industry, manufacturing and the like (I've written about this for NEXT Berlin). I'm desperate to see startup thinking and social business start to spread beyond the obvious confines of knowledge workers and mobile apps. Looks like Post*Shift could be planning on making some inroads into a much wider discussion about the future of work - and that could be worth watching.